The Clovis City Council election appears to be a three-way race according to a poll conducted by GV Wire℠.
Voters are in the process of returning ballots before Tuesday’s Election Day deadline. They will pick two council members from among five candidates.
Of 250 potential voters surveyed, 30% support incumbent Lynne Ashbeck; 24% support incumbent Vong Mouanoutoua; and 23% support challenger Diane Pearce. Respondents were asked to pick two, with 44% declining to answer.
Of the two other candidates on the ballot — Noha Elbaz received 11% support and Herman Nagra polled at 4%.
Through Thursday, more than 12,000 voters have returned ballots either by the mail or at drop boxes for both the Clovis election and for a single ballot measure in the city of Orange Cove. It is expected a majority of all votes cast so far are from Clovis.
Voters Have a “Tough Decision”
Mouanoutoua, running for his second term, says voters have several quality candidates to chose from.
“The elections should always give voters a tough decision. That is an indication that there’s good choices where it makes the voter actually wrestle with who they need or want to have representing them at the government level,” Mouanoutoua said.
Pearce said the survey is reflective of her strong support.
“When you’ve got two incumbents, that’s quite a challenge. To have people giving me that kind of response and really giving me a shot at this, is incredibly encouraging. I think it is reflective of kind of how things are out there. It’s going to be a close race,” Pearce said.
Ashbeck, running for her sixth term, is looking ahead to Tuesday.
“The most important poll is the one on Election Day. We will continue to work hard between now and then to earn the support of Clovis voters!” she said by email.
Elbaz is not discouraged.
“It’s a pretty small sample size. For me, it really doesn’t change much about what I’m doing. My goal is to reach as many people as I possibly can and to talk about the importance of responsible leadership and responsible growth in the city. And I think people have been incredibly receptive to that,” Elbaz said.
Public Safety Top Issue
Public safety was overwhelmingly the top issue, 48% of respondents said. Republican and Democrat respondents both agreed it was the top issue, although at different rates. Of Republicans, 56% picked public safety as the top issue, compared to 32% of Democrats.
Of five issues offered as choices, parks garnered the fewest responses as the most important issue, with only 2% overall.
Other choices included jobs (21% overall), roads (18%) and other (12%).
Mouanoutoua Leads Fundraising
Mouanoutoua has raised the most funds, for the period ending Feb. 13. He has raised $71,545 for the year, with $137,796 cash on hand. These figures include money rolled over from prior campaigns.
Ashbeck raised $22,925 year to date, with $37,487 cash on hand.
Pearce raised $36,541 for the year with $16,182 cash on hand.
Elbaz raised $15,800 for the year, with $13,425 cash on hand.
Nagra said he is raising no more than $2,000.
Granville Homes contributed $5,000 each to Mouanoutoua and Ashbeck. Darius Assemi, CEO of Granville Homes, is the publisher of GV Wire.
Nichols Research conducted the poll for GV Wire, reaching voters by phone between Feb. 17 and Feb. 23. Likely voters — those who voted in three of the last six major elections — were surveyed.
Respondents skewed 60% Republican, 32.8% Democrat, and 7.2% other. The figures closely mirror party affiliation of past Clovis election turnout.
Of Clovis’ 72,809 voters as of Feb. 10, 45% are registered Republican; 30% are Democrats; 19% are no party preference; and the remaining 6% are other.
The poll’s margin of error is 6%.